Weekly roundup: Bill seeks to rename courthouse after historic Mendez v. Westminster case, Fullerton students build tiny home, and more

Rep. Jimmy Gomez joins Sylvia and Sandra Mendez alongside leaders of Latino organizations to introduce new bill at the Capitol. (Courtesy of Rep. Jimmy Gomez)
Rep. Jimmy Gomez joins Sylvia and Sandra Mendez alongside leaders of Latino organizations to introduce a new bill on Capitol Hill. (Courtesy of Rep. Jimmy Gomez)

In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, 34th Congressional District Rep. Jimmy Gomez has proposed a bill to rename a federal courthouse in honor of the civil rights achievements made by Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez.

NBC News reported that on Wednesday, Sept. 27, Rep. Gomez was joined by Sylvia and Sandra Mendez — daughters of Gonzalo and Felicitas — at Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. alongside fellow leaders in the Latino community to introduce the new bill and share the Mendez family’s legal victory that led to the desegregation of public schools throughout California.

“I’m introducing a bill that would name the Los Angeles U.S. Courthouse in my congressional district after two remarkable individuals whose courage and resilience bent the arc of history towards justice,” Gomez said at the press conference.

After facing school segregation in the 1940s, the Mendez family teamed up with four other Orange County families to file a lawsuit and speak up for students of color in the Westminster School District. They won their case in 1946, putting an end to forced segregation in California public schools one year later and laying the foundation for the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Brown v. Board case.

“This Hispanic Heritage Month, I am making sure Latino stories are enshrined in American civil rights history,” Rep. Gomez said. If passed, the federal courthouse would become the first named after a Latina, according to Gomez.

“My parents and the four other families in this case refused to give up on their vision for a more equal society for their children, where the color of someone’s skin doesn’t determine their access to education,” Sylvia Mendez said. “I am eager to see Rep. Gomez’s bill move forward to preserve this important piece of Hispanic history.”

Here are the other stories we’ve been following this week:

  • A class of 22 Fullerton School District eighth-graders has begun to build a 192-square-foot house for a local family as part of its Tiny Home project.
Fullerton School District invited community partners to its unveiling of the Tiny Home project
The Fullerton School District unveiled the project before its community partners on Sept. 19.
  • Educators and experts shed light on the many ways that schools, families and communities can prioritize student safety at the “Savvy Safety in Public Schools Forum,” held by the Orange County Board of Education.
  • Artwork created by Kennedy High School graduate Lena Chin will be on display at bus shelters across Buena Park through Oct. 11 for the Anaheim Union High School District’s “Connections over Addiction” art contest, which raises awareness for substance-use prevention.
  • On Monday, a bill that would prevent the censoring of books containing LGBTQ+ and race-related lessons by school boards statewide was also signed into law.
  • About 70,000 child care programs could soon face permanent closures due to the withdrawal of federal pandemic aid starting on Saturday.

This is the part where we encourage you to keep up with local education news stories by bookmarking the OCDE Newsroomsubscribing for emailed updates and following us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.